Food For Thought: Loco For Locavore

One of the focal points in The Omnivore’s Dilemma is the value of eating locally-grown food and although I don’t believe the term is specifically used in the book, author Michael Pollan clearly supports the principles of the "locavore" movement.

What is a locavore?   Well, much like a carnivore is someone who eats meat and a herbivore is someone who eats plants, a locavore is a person who eats locally-sourced food.   The locavore movement has sprouted in the past few years to encourage people to consume more food from regional farms, area farmers’ markets, at stores which carry local products, or even to produce some of their own food.

farmers market graphic

There are several reasons in makes sense to favor locally-grown food:

  • Regarding food quality, even if local products aren’t formally certified as "organic," chances are still very good that they’ve been grown or raised using much healthier methods.   The result is better quality, fresher flavor, and more nutritious food.
  • Locally-sourced food is "greener" or more environmentally-friendly.   It has a smaller carbon footprint due to the lower "food miles" — or how far food has to travel from the farm to the fork.   Importing non-regional and international foods can sometimes require vast amounts of fossil fuels & non-renewable resources.
  • Locally-grown and/or produced food is often likely to be the result of more Earth-friendly & sustainable practices.   This translates to fewer unwanted chemicals making their way into your family’s plates.
  • There’s also the satisfaction of knowing that you’re supporting your local economy when you purchase from regional farmers & growers.

Green Blog Diaries offers a bushel-load of great locavore-themed blogs to chew on.   The blogs featured in that roundup are an excellent starting point to discover lots more about the local food movement.   There’s also a great new group blog called Civil Eats that strives to promote critical thought about sustainable agriculture & food systems.

Of course, there has to be a balance struck between lofty ideals versus what’s practical — buying local is far easier in fertile regions than in other, more agriculturally-barren areas.   Some people will be discouraged by the radical narrow-focus surrounding the locavore "movement" and its 100-mile limit.   And there’ll even be the wacky few who drive gas-guzzling SUVs all the way across town to buy locally-grown tomatoes because they’re more environmentally-friendly.

So, what do you think?   Have you already been focusing more on local food?   Do you believe efforts to be more local-minded can make a difference or do you dismiss this as just another pointless yuppie fad?

Remember to post a comment by midnight (P.S.T.) so your name will be entered for a chance at one of the two food-related books I’m giving away to commemorate this Food For Thought series.

3 Comments

  1. I would really think that local farmers markets and like stores would be able to sell their products at a lower price considering it is in fact local, but it seems that at the very few markets we have here the prices are a little more giving less incentive to buy from them. But great series, awesome info, keep up the good work.

  2. Since finding out about Diego's allergies to gluten and dairy we have been buying more organic food from stores like Whole Foods and Trader Joe's. Recently I started checking out the farmers market to see if we could safe some money with our veggies and I was very surprised to find soooo many farmers offering their produce even when we life in the middle of the desert! The veggies taste great, at a very good price, and the people at the farmers market are just super nice!

    Another book that is quite interesting about food is the "Body Ecology Diet" by Donna Gates. It's maybe more focused on health issues, but we learned about tons of amazing food to help Diego.

  3. I try to stick to eating locally as much as possible. There are a few standard foods that's a part of my diet that's impossible to get locally (west coast) such as coconut oil, but that makes up a small percentage for me.

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